Three Texas A&M Honors students receive Critical Language Scholarships by U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program has awarded three Texas A&M Honors students the opportunity to participate in language programs around the world this summer.  This scholarship program was developed to give undergraduate and graduate students overseas study experience in foreign languages of critical need to the country.

This year Jonathan Christ, senior international studies major, Dominique Gallagher-Gonzales, senior international studies major, and Christine Jones, senior genetics major, received CLS awards. Christ was awarded to study Japanese while Jones and Gallagher-Gonzales were awarded to study Russian.

For 7-10 weeks students will travel to foreign countries to study their language of interest by being fully immersed through group-based intensive language instruction.   After the program CLS students are expected to continue their studies in the critical languages and later apply their knowledge to their professional careers. 

“The main interest of the program is that its participants plan to continue studying their target language until mastery and want to use it in their professions,” said Gallagher-Gonzales.  She has already studied abroad this past spring and will continue achieving her goal of mastery of the Russian language this summer with her CLS experience in Vladimir, Russia.  “I’m going into the experience with no expectations, except of myself and that is to be as disciplined and enthusiastic in my studies as I always was in any Russian-related course at A&M,” she said.

Jones, another Russian CLS student, hopes this experience will help her reach her goal of working in international public health.  “It is my firm belief that only genuine and sustained contact with other cultures can affect change on a global scale, and if I want to help form global health policies or practices, I must expose myself to such cultures accordingly,” she said.

Christ, Japanese CLS student, believes that living and studying in Japan will be the key to understanding the subtleties in Japanese culture.  “Good intercultural communication will be essential in any kind of interaction I may have with the country in the future, in business or political contexts,” he said.  Christ hopes to pursue either a business or political career after graduation in December.

These students join two past Aggie CLS students, Andrew Roblyer, who studied Arabic, and Joseph Lenox, who studied Korean, in receiving this impressive scholarship and representing HUR at Texas A&M in the CLS program.

By Chrystina Rago, chrysrago@honors.tamu.edu

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